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Cellmate suspected of murder in inmate's death
John Setchel
John Setchel

The cellmate of a Hall County Jail inmate found dead Sunday has been charged with murder.

The victim, 72-year-old Ronald Sailers of Murrayville, was found dead at 6 a.m. Sunday by a jailer.

Sailers’ cellmate, John Setchel, 24, of Dawsonville, has been charged with murder in connection with his alleged involvement in the incident. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation secured an arrest warrant for Setchel after the Hall County Sheriff’s Office asked for its assistance in the investigation.

Setchel was being held at the jail on a Superior Court probation violation for felony obstruction of an officer.

Sailers had been in the jail since Sept. 16 on a Superior Court arrest order stemming from an aggravated assault case.

“The death of a loved one is always difficult especially when they die at the hands of another.” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “The offender in this case has been charged with murder and will face the consequences of his actions.”

GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said more information will become available after an autopsy is completed.

Hall County Coroner Marion Merck referred questions to Deupty Coroner Robert Rogers, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation of the incident, and Couch said the office is committed to preventing inmate violence.

“We strive to protect all the residents of Hall County, including our inmate population,” he said,  “but violence can and does occur anywhere at any time.”

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